Tony Lascuña hopes to flash the form he dished out in dominating the field last year as he guns for back-to-back championship in the ICTSI Classic firing off on Wednesday, at the Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country club in Lipa City, Batangas.
The former three-time Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit winner beat Jay Bayron, Clyde Mondilla and Robert Pactolerin by six to rule this event last year, finishing with a run of under-par scores for a 15-under 273 total, including a closing six-under 66.
But the amiable Davaoeño shotmaker will be coming into the P2 million event trying to regain his winning ways that netted him four victories, including three straight at Eagle Ridge, Forest Hills and Bacolod the last two months, as he has struggled a bit in the last three legs of the tour sponsored by ICTSI.
He did turn in two top six finishes at Aboitiz and Riviera to remain in the lead in this year’s OOM derby but Bayron and Mondilla have closed in, making it a three-way battle for the coveted award with four legs left in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
In fact, Bayron is hot on back-to-back title feats in Aboitiz Invitational and ICTSI Riviera Classic while Mondilla is coming off a strong second place finish at Riviera two weeks ago, making the duo the chief threats to Lascuña’s title-retention drive.
“Jay is on a roll while Clyde is playing as good coming off an injury. But I like my chances at Malarayat although I need to putt well to win again,” said Lascuña.
But the troika will have a slew of rivals to fend off, including young guns Jobim Carlos, Justin Quiban and Keanu Jahns and veterans Jhonnel Ababa, Ferdie Aunzo, Jerson Balasabas, Rufino Bayron, Michael Bibat, Jun Bernis, Marvin Dumandan, Mhark Fernando, Anthony Fernando, Zanieboy Gialon, Charles Hong, Benjie Magada, Mars Pucay, Joenard Rates, Rey Pagunsan, Orlan Sumcad, Arnold Villacencio and Elmer Salvador.
Dutch Guido Van der Valk also tries to finally score a breakthrough win in the circuit after a number of near-misses along with fellow foreign bets Dillon Soldwisch of the US, Yuta Sudo of Japan, Koreans Park Jun Song, Kwon Hyuk Jin and Chang Chang Guo.
Meanwhile, Lascuña, Bayron, Mondilla and the other top pros test the wind-raked composite layout one last time as they compete in the traditional pro-am tournament with officials and guests of the event’s chief backers, including Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.